Manuel Pellegrini Admits Manchester City's Away Form Must Improve
Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he is concerned by Manchester City’s away form, whilst ruling out captain Vincent Kompany for Saturday’s trip to Upton Park.
City have taken just one point from a possible nine on the road this season and Pellegrini says he is “worried” by the trend.
“Of course we are worried about that. I think we deserve more points playing away the way we are playing, but the reality says we have one point from nine, so we need to win," he said during his Carrington press conference.
“Now we play four games in a row away, so it is the best moment first to win away against West Ham, then to repeat the triumph we had against Plzen in the Champions League. It is very important for us to get three points more.
“For me there is no priority. It is very important for the team to qualify for the round of 16 in the Champions League, but also the Premier League is important.”
City have suffered from costly defensive errors on their trips to Cardiff and Aston Villa so far this season—games that both ended in a 3-2 defeat. At Villa Park, in particular, City dominated possession and led twice only to come away empty-handed after some poor decision-making at the back.
Pellegrini will be keen to see his back four and goalkeeper improve their concentration and communication in the next four matches, which are all away from home.
After the trip to West Ham, City travel to Moscow to play CSKA in the Champions League before a tough match with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and a Capital One Cup tie away at Newcastle.
They will have to face the Hammers bereft of their captain, but Pellegrini stressed the importance of his side not being over-reliant on Kompany.
“Vincent is working hard. He is not ready to play but I hope next week he will be. I think [Martin] Demichelis is in the same shape as Kompany. I hope that next week both of them could be fit," he said.
“Maybe if we go and see the statistics of the games we played away, of course we must be worried because Villa scored three goals and Cardiff scored three goals. It is a thing we must improve. Not only with Vincent Kompany, we must improve the performance of all of our defending as a team.
“What happened at Cardiff and Aston Villa was not because I did not prepare. We must erase a lot of unnecessary mistakes, unnecessary fouls and concentrate at set-pieces."
West Ham, buoyed by their stunning 3-0 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane, will provide tough opposition and City must cut out the silly defensive errors which have blighted their previous away matches this season.
Without Kompany, that task will be considerably more difficult, but coping with injuries is a necessity for any side looking to win the title. A squad with as much quality as City’s should be well-placed to manage.
The next four fixtures won’t define City’s season, but they will provide a great test of their ability to perform away from home.
It’s quite clear City are comfortable at the Etihad, it’s picking up points on the road that will be the difference between them winning trophies and finishing the season empty-handed.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.
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